Skip to main content

Hypocrisy of 'condemn Israel' campaign

By Abraham H. Foxman
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1137 GMT (1937 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Abraham Foxman: The world is outraged when Israel is forced to defend itself from terrorism
  • At global protests, he says, anti-Semitism is thinly veiled as criticism of Israel
  • Foxman: We must remember Hamas intentionally started this conflict
  • Foxman: Hamas spent millions on tunnels to attack Israel rather than helping Gazans

Editor's note: Abraham H. Foxman is national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

(CNN) -- When Israel is forced to defend its citizens from Palestinian terrorism originating from Gaza, we've come to expect outrage around the world. Critics are quick to condemn Israel's military actions -- some with such heavy-handed charges as "war crimes," "atrocities" and even "genocide," while remaining silent about the terrorists who started the conflict.

At anti-Israel protests around the world, violent anti-Semitism is on full display, thinly veiled as criticism of Israel. Demonstrators in Turkey have attacked Israeli embassies. In Germany, France, Italy and Spain and other European countries, the protests have led to anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish people, community centers and synagogues.

Abraham Foxman
Abraham Foxman

We've seen violence and incitement against Jews rising in Latin America as well.

It has been lost on no one that this pronounced anti-Semitism has its antecedents in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Fortunately, some responsible European leaders are standing up to the hatred and bigotry. But their words may not be enough, as Israel continues to be treated as the international community's whipping boy in the latest conflict.

It is time for moral clarity on Gaza. The facts bear repeating. Hamas intentionally started this conflict. Hamas militants built miles of underground tunnels -- at least 30 tunnels in all -- using about 600,000 tons of cement and other materials that could have built homes or schools for Palestinians. Instead, it went into a sickening subterranean network of tunnels designed to carry out surprise terrorist attacks across the border in Israel.

Palestinians in Gaza celebrate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas on Tuesday, August 26. After more than seven weeks of heavy fighting, Israel and Hamas agreed to an open-ended ceasefire that puts off dealing with core long-term issues. Palestinians in Gaza celebrate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas on Tuesday, August 26. After more than seven weeks of heavy fighting, Israel and Hamas agreed to an open-ended ceasefire that puts off dealing with core long-term issues.
Israel-Gaza crisis
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: Israel-Gaza crisis Photos: Israel-Gaza crisis

It has been said that the only real growth industries in Gaza are in rocket-building and tunnel construction. This unconscionable waste of resources has brought about the two crowning "cultural" achievements of Hamas: Thousands of rockets raining down on Israeli towns and cities and terrorists armed to the teeth emerging from holes in the ground, intent on kidnapping more Israeli soldiers and killing Israeli civilians. This culture of death is an essential part of Hamas' identity and ideology and has motivated the Hamas leaders for the more than eight years they have controlled Gaza.

The world knows that Hamas intentionally stores its rockets in homes, mosques, hospitals and schools. No matter how careful Israel tries to be in warning civilians before attacks, no matter how much restraint it exercises, Hamas has guaranteed that civilians will be victims. Children make up nearly half the population of Gaza, and so women and children are among those dying because of Hamas's maximalist strategy against Israel.

In Israel and Gaza, a war against peace

Israel did not want this war, and certainly does not want to see civilians killed. But no matter, the calumny continues to rain down on Israel. What hypocrisy this is.

Has anyone condemned Hamas for the death of 160 children during the construction of the Gaza tunnels? The Institute for Palestinian Studies reports Hamas uses child labor to build its terror tunnels and prizes their nimbleness and work ethic.

On the news every day there is the macabre body count of how many civilians have lost their lives in Gaza, invariably accompanied by a comparison with the cost of life for Israeli soldiers and civilians. Counts vary, but most put the numbers of Palestinian deaths around 1,800 and Israeli deaths at 65.

All deaths that come about as a result of this conflict are tragic. But who is taking steps to limit casualties? Israel. Who is apologizing for the loss of life in Gaza? Israel. Hamas, on the other hand, tries at every opportunity to inflict as much pain as possible on Israel, trying to kill more Israeli civilians by firing rockets at large population centers, by sending suicide bombers across the border and sacrificing the lives of their own children. They make no apologies for their culture of death.

Look out at the world, there is no shortage of horrific violence and tragic death. Death by the thousands, by the tens of thousands in Syria; human destruction in Libya, in Afghanistan, in Iraq. Muslims slaughtering Muslims. And in Iraq, Muslims are killing Christians. Why have the voices of outrage in response to the more than 170,000 dead as a result of Syria's civil war gone silent?

There are no cameras out there, there are few editorials, and there are even fewer demonstrations in the streets of Paris, of Rome or London.

Here is where moral myopia verges on moral blindness. It seems the world wakes up only when Jews in their own defense -- defending their men, women and children -- are forced to kill Muslims and Palestinians. That's when the world demonstrates.

This is the true hypocrisy of the "condemn Israel" phenomenon.

And there can be no doubt that the anti-Israel campaign that is unfolding around the world is a function of the anti-Semitism that we know lurks just underneath the surface in some European societies and is all-but rampant across the Middle East.

Read CNNOpinion's new Flipboard magazine.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1947 GMT (0347 HKT)
LZ Granderson says Congress has rebuked the NFL on domestic violence issue, but why not a federal judge?
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1650 GMT (0050 HKT)
Mel Robbins says the only person you can legally hit in the United States is a child. That's wrong.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1723 GMT (0123 HKT)
Eric Liu says seeing many friends fight so hard for same-sex marriage rights made him appreciate marriage.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1938 GMT (0338 HKT)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 04: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell walks the sidelines prior to the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field on September 4, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Martha Pease says the NFL commissioner shouldn't be judge and jury on player wrongdoing.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 2122 GMT (0522 HKT)
It's time for a much needed public reckoning over U.S. use of torture, argues Donald P. Gregg.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1608 GMT (0008 HKT)
Peter Bergen says UK officials know the identity of the man who killed U.S. journalists and a British aid worker.
September 13, 2014 -- Updated 1620 GMT (0020 HKT)
Joe Torre and Esta Soler say much has been achieved since a landmark anti-violence law was passed.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 2055 GMT (0455 HKT)
David Wheeler wonders: If Scotland votes to secede, can America take its place and rejoin England?
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 2207 GMT (0607 HKT)
Jane Stoever: Society must grapple with a culture in which 1 in 3 teen girls and women suffer partner violence.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 2036 GMT (0436 HKT)
World-famous physicist Stephen Hawking recently said the world as we know it could be obliterated instantaneously. Meg Urry says fear not.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 2211 GMT (0611 HKT)
Bill Clinton's speech accepting the Democratic nomination for president in 1992 went through 22 drafts. But he always insisted on including a call to service.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 2218 GMT (0618 HKT)
Joe Amon asks: What turns a few cases of disease into thousands?
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1721 GMT (0121 HKT)
Sally Kohn says bombing ISIS will worsen instability in Iraq and strengthen radical ideology in terrorist groups.
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1730 GMT (0130 HKT)
Analysts weigh in on the president's plans for addressing the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1327 GMT (2127 HKT)
Artist Prune Nourry's project reinterprets the terracotta warriors in an exhibition about gender preference in China.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
The Apple Watch is on its way. Jeff Yang asks: Are we ready to embrace wearables technology at last?
ADVERTISEMENT